This week’s passage is a favorite of mine, Psalm 37:4-6. The Seeds song is called “Delight,” track 7 on “Seeds of Purpose.” Again, these songs use the 1984 NIV translation, and the current NIV was pretty different, so I’m pasting the ESV translation here.
4 Delight yourself in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
5 Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him, and he will act.
6 He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,
and your justice as the noonday.
I was in college when I discovered Psalm 37:4. At the time it seemed like God would make all of my dreams come true if I would just worship more or read the Bible more or something. I was very excited about the desires of my heart (which was boys, btw!), and not maybe as excited or informed about truly delighting myself in the Lord.
Looking back at the time between then and now, I have learned a few things about this passage (and I hope that I will continue to learn even more). What I see from these words now is that to delight in the Lord is to commit my way to him and trust him. Verse 4 is tricky because on the surface it sounds like God is a wish-granting genie. But looking at the rest of the passage and Bible as a whole, we know this is not true of his character.
God loves to give good gifts to his children, but he gives things that are good for us, that fit into his plan, and that are consistent with his character. So sometimes we will go through hardships, and we will still experience the natural consequences of our actions. On the flipside, sometimes we truly will receive the desires of our hearts, those things that feel like a dream come true. And when any of these things happens– when our dreams come true or when we go through trials– the blessings will be sweeter and the hardships will yield more growth if we will seek God first and foremost as our “delight.”
There are some desires in my heart that are not the most godly. While I do really want my character to reflect more of Christ, I would also like to have fancier clothes or furniture, or more spending money. I have actually received many of those things at different times in my life, but if I’m honest they have not done much for my heart. As I commit my way to the Lord I start to see that the things that grow my heart are what I really want from God. He has shown me that he is trustworthy, and as I have stepped out in faith, I have seen him act. I have also seen him bring forth righteousness and justice in my life as I trust and obey. And when that happens, it’s clear that it is God’s gracious and mighty hand working in spite of myself.
The title of Psalm 37 in the ESV is “He Will Not Forsake His Saints,” and it is full of wisdom and truth. I would encourage you to check it out, and certainly to meditate on verses 4-6 with me this week.